Toshiba streamlines dealer base

Sunday, October 1, 2006

IRVINE, Calif.--Toshiba Surveillance & IP Video Products Group, a division of Toshiba Imaging Systems devoted to IP video solutions, launched in July its Preferred Partner program, whereby qualified dealers who meet sales requirements receive pricing and exclusivity accommodations, training, and co-op advertising funds among other benefits. Beginning in January, those dealer partners will also be offered access to a national accounts program that will create a network of dealers granting individual integrators the ability to compete for larger jobs (see more on PSA Security's efforts in this area, on page 1).
The program has been successful with other Toshiba business units since 1986, but "it has never been fully applied in the security channel," said channel sales manager Chris Musick. He expects the program to be lucrative for integrators, as "right now, most large integrators lack a national base of partners that they can go out and utilize. We hope to change that."
The Preferred Partner program is part of a Toshiba initiative to streamline its dealer base and focus on elite integrators who are buying into the skill-set needed to specify and install IP-enabled surveillance systems, Musick said. He estimated that Toshiba's IP division had cut its dealer base by almost two thirds, with the goal of retaining and attracting "a select group of high-quality, certified dealers to represent the Toshiba brand," Musick said. "If a municipality comes to us, we'll be absolutely confident that the preferred partner we recommend is a trained specialist capable of meeting their objectives."
To that end, Toshiba is also offering annual two-day on-site training for preferred partners, along with an enhanced training program at Toshiba-selected sites for other dealers. "Many integrators need to learn more about the basics of network infrastructure, even more so than they do about a DVR or an IP camera," said Musick. "Switchers, routers, and IP technology in general is an extremely fast-moving space."
However, "As we move into IP video, there's a whole new group of IT integrators who are aggressively entering our market," Musick said.